Emotional Freedom Technique: the basics

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) for singers, actors & musicians.

EFT has been around for at least 20 years and is big in the USA. I'm in the UK and, from what I can see, EFT is now rapidly gaining momentum; with practitioners and trainers all over the country.

I live in the north-east and I'm a qualified AAMET  practitioner. I'm available for group talks and/or 1:1 sessions. Contact me today for a free telephone consultation.

If you're unfamiliar with EFT, however, here's a brief overview of what it is.

What is EFT?

EFT is a mindfulness tool and emerging energy psychology which is quick to learn and easy to use. It is derived from acupuncture and for that reason is often referred to as acupuncture without the needles. By reducing the intensity of memories/emotions energy psychology has been shown to alleviate human suffering, enhance performance and unlock human potential.  

EFT can be used in a variety of different settings and is particularly effective in dealing with - 

  • Low mood
  • Stress 
  • Low self esteem
  • Performance/exam anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Pain relief
EFT is not part of any belief system and is not a religious practice. 

Does it work?

The simple answer is yes and the results of published research have appeared in more than 20 peer review journals. Running alongside the research there is also a wealth of anecdotal evidence that supports the efficacy of EFT in dealing with a diverse range of issues. For more chronic and complex problems there are EFT practitioners who can assist. However, for a lot of simple day to day issues, EFT is a quick and empowering self help tool that can easily be incorporated into every day life.  

How does it work?

EFT works by combining focused psychology with tapping on certain meridian energy points. This results in the softening and release of specific intense negative emotions/memories. 

It is thought that the tapping process of EFT stimulates a part of the brain which controls the primitive flight or fight response in the body - think cavemen faced with the sabre toothed tiger! Although, we no longer live in caves, or have to deal with tigers in our every day lives, our internal mechanism for dealing with stress remains the same.

When faced with a stressful situation the sympathetic response is triggered. This is an internal mechanism that causes us to flee from danger, putting us into stress mode. In stress mode a range of cellular responses occur which involves the production of cortisol, epinephrine, adrenaline and a range of other hormones that enable the body to maintain the stress in order to be able to flee.

Once away from the stressor the body starts to relax and the stress mode chemical reactions cease. The parasympathetic nervous system takes over and the body goes into relaxation mode. In this state the body is able to heal itself and work at fixing any imbalances. EFT enables this process. 

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) for singers, actors & musicians.

So, now to the exciting bit.  How does it all come together?

EFT - the method

There are 2 basic parts to EFT:

  • The Set Up
  • The Meridian Energy Points Tapping Sequence

The set up is the preparatory phase prior to tapping along the meridian points. Essentially the purpose of the set up is to focus the attention on the specifics of a given problem. In short pick a problem, identify where and how it feels, then set it to  a simple form of words -  known as the affirmation.

Once the affirmation is established the tapping sequence on the meridian energy points follows. 
(Below is a diagram of the EFT Tapping Points.)

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) for singers, actors & musicians.

The Affirmation

There is no fixed language for the affirmation. However, key is simplicity, brevity, honesty and self acceptance. Take for example an issue such as pre-performance anxiety.

Here the affirmation might be "Even though I'm nauseated and anxious about this performance I accept myself and how I feel." The affirmation statement needs to be said three times whilst, at the same time, tapping on the Karate Chop point of the hand. (This is the fleshy part of the outside of either hand between the top of the wrist and the base of the little finger – illustrated in the above diagram.) 

The Meridian Energy Points Tapping Sequence

Below are the meridian points to be tapped on.

Face and Body Meridian Points -

  • At the beginning of the eyebrow, just above and to one side of the nose
  • On the bone bordering the outside corner of the eye.
  • On the bone under the eye about 1" below the pupil
  • On the small area between the bottom of the nose and the top of the lip
  • Midway between the point of the chin and the bottom of the lower lip
  • The junction where the breastbone and collar bone meet
  • Under the armpit at a point on a line with the nipple
  • Top of the head

Tapping tips –

  • You can tap with either hand - although the dominant hand is commonly used 
  • Tap with the fingertips of your index and middle fingers
  • Tap 7 times on each of the tapping points illustrated above
  • Most of the tapping points are on either side of the body. It doesn't matter which side are used 
The Reminder Phrase

The reminder phrase is a shortened version of the affirmation statement and accompanies the tapping. This enables the unconscious mind to keep the disruption pattern going, so that it can be neutralised by the tapping. So, sticking with the pre performance anxiety, the reminder phrase might be "sick and anxious about the performance". Once you have your reminder phrase start tapping on the meridian points as illustrated. Be mindful of the process.

Subsequent Round Adjustments

In most cases more than one round of EFT will be required to take the charge out of a negative emotion. (In this case nausea and anxiety.) For the best results, in subsequent rounds of tapping, adjustments may need to be made to both the set up statement and the affirmation, eg "even though I still have this anxiety, I accept myself and how I feel".

Measuring your progress  

During the tapping phase it is necessary to monitor progress. The ultimate aim is to either eliminate the discomfort felt or reduce it to such an extent that it is no longer an issue.  So, if we go back to the pre performance anxiety, let’s say that at the outset the level of anxiety is high at around 9 and the body is fired up in stress mode. After several rounds of tapping this anxiety should be reduced to a level of about 2 or less; switching the body from stress to relaxation mode and enabling a better performance.

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) for singers, actors & musicians.

EFT has many applications. It’s effective as a first aid measure, or it can be used to tackle more long term complex issues. EFT combines well with meditation and can be used alongside other more conventional treatments. It can easily be incorporated into everyday life and is a great tool to help achieve optimum balance, health, vitality and performance.

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) for singers, actors & musicians.

For further information here are some useful EFT sites –

www.eftforperformers.co.uk - my new website for singers, musicians, actors & other performers to help them overcome stage fright & performance anxiety.

www.eftuniverse.com – good for research papers and includes tapping demonstration, events and training. Geared up for North America.

www.emofree.com – good starting point for beginners and includes training materials by EFT founder Gary Craig.

www.practicalwellbeing.co.ukUK based Andy Hunt is a leading trainer in the north east. The site is content rich and packed with information, articles and details about training and other events in the north east.

www.thetappingsolution.com – run by Nick and Jessica Ortner, who are based in the USA.  Site includes tapping demonstration and gives a flavour of how EFT has extended into the realm of personal development and beyond.

www.healthyinmind.com – a UK trainer based in the south of England.

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